How to Choose the Best Home Windows for Your Climate and Budget

Replacing your home’s windows can be a great undertaking, and there’s no point in starting such a huge project if you don’t have all the facts. Before doing a major home remodel, it always helps to keep informed about all your choices. Different homes require different windows depending on how they conserve heat and distribute air. Without the right windows, your home could end up becoming seriously drafty or stuffy and cost you tons of money in heating and cooling bills. That’s why it always pays to be prepared. If you’re looking to choose replacement windows to make your home more energy-efficient, you’ll need to keep your home’s specific climate in mind.

Dry Heat

If you live in a place that stays hot and dry all year long, your first concern is going to be finding windows that are great for ventilation and trapping in cold air from the air conditioning. You don’t want to choose anything too chilly for the framing. Low-e glass with a low U factor is always a great choice in terms of protecting your home from too much sun, and keeping the window itself cool with an aluminum or vinyl frame can be a great way to keep your home airtight. If you’re considering choosing wood, it’s best to think twice. Climates with year-long heat and drought are subject to forest fires and dangerous dryness throughout more rural patches. Choosing wood for your window’s frame could end up putting your house at risk. If you’re really enthusiastic about the look of wood for your home, try using a fiberglass frame, which can be made to mimic the look of natural wood from the outside.

Extreme Winters and Muggy Summers

If you’re living in a climate that’s subject to a lot of extremes, you’ll want to really double down on your window choice. If you’re dealing with extreme rain and snow storms in the winter and heavy, muggy air in the summer, you’ll need windows that can really keep the outside air out. This will require a double paned glass at least, potentially with protective glazing or professional tinting to keep the sun out. You’ll also want to stay away from any window type that can trap moisture too easily. For this reason, choosing a double or triple pane window is the perfect option. Having multiple panes of glass will help provide a buffer between the moisture from outside and your home’s structure. Even if you’re excellent at weatherproofing your home from the outside, living in a highly temperamental climate means you can’t afford to take chances.

Mixed Temperature

If you consider your home’s climate to be mostly mild with moments of unexpected intensity, you’ll have a bit more leeway in your choice of windows. While your frame materials will be able to be a bit more diverse, you’ll still need your choice of glass to be strong, weather-resistant, and able to keep out the elements. Using a single pane of glass won’t hurt you, as long as it’s energy efficient and has a low-E coating, high R-value, and low U factor. For the frame, wood is fine in climates that don’t deal with a ton of moisture. For best results, try to protect your home against colder weather by insulating your window during the winter and re-weatherstripping at least every six months. If the climate is often unpredictable where you live, consider installing a casement window in at least one room of your house. Casement windows are unique among window styles for the way they catch the breeze around the side of a home, creating a more even temperature inside harder-to-regulate rooms like kitchens and patios.

Wet Climates

When it comes to wet climates, you want to make sure you’re protected from moisture at all costs. If moisture gets into your home, it can end up creating major problems with your internal structure and roofing, creating leaks, molding, and rotting and warping the wood in your home. If you live in a mostly wet climate with a lot of rain and storms, try to use stain-resistant metals for your window’s frame. While wood is vulnerable to rotting and chipping in the face of moisture, aluminum and steel keep strong and will keep any water from coming into your home even in the worst storms. If you’re worried about metal frames being too dark and closing off your view, paint your frames bright colors to keep them from catching too much sunlight and retaining heat.

 

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